Tuesday, February 5, 2008

DBC Letter to Pepsico

You may click on the letter icon above to get a larger view
or read the text version below of the DBC's letter to Pepsico:

February 5, 2008

Ms. Julie Hamp
Senior Vice President
PepsiCo Communications
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Dear Ms. Hamp,

On behalf of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC), we would like to thank Pepsi for airing the “Bob’s House” commercial and for generously replying to the countless number of correspondence items the global Deaf Community members and allies sent in support of the commercial.

Pepsi’s commercial did not just raise awareness about Deaf people’s natural way of life; it can actually enhance lives. Because of the unprecedented and highly-viewed commercial, the chances that future parents of Deaf babies will pick up American Sign Language (ASL) increased exponentially. Additionally, the many benefits ASL gives to hearing babies has been well-documented, so Pepsi did a great service for all babies, Deaf and hearing. Thank you.

Established as a grass-roots organization and movement in 2007, the DBC is here to ensure that all Deaf babies and children succeed and thrive through early and strong acquisition of ASL and English. The DBC is also challenging the Alexander Graham Bell Association’s (AG Bell’s) long-standing campaign and activism against ASL, diversity, quality education, and economic power among the Deaf community. Since AG Bell’s inception, they have steadfastly promoted the mentality that all Deaf people should shun ASL and natural and successful ways of living in society.

Through AG Bell’s Children’s Legal Advocacy program, cases have been brought against school districts that provide ASL-based instruction to Deaf students. With AG Bell and Auditory-Verbal International’s Auditory-Verbal Therapy program, families are explicitly encouraged not to use ASL with their Deaf children. Finally, AG Bell’s affiliation with corporations such as Cochlear Americas, has resulted in the accumulation of vast wealth that does not return one cent to the Deaf community. AG Bell criticizing Pepsi about money not being well-spent reflects a blatant double standard.

With the overwhelming majority of AG Bell and Cochlear America’s Board members and top executives being non-minority and non-Deaf, the DBC finds AG Bell’s characterization of Pepsi supposedly having a “limited” view of Deaf diversity extremely puzzling. AG Bell appears to be confusing the issue of true diversity with the issue of the diversification of their affiliates’ stock portfolios. Yet that did not stop AG Bell from purporting to speak for the Deaf community. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), with a diverse Board, is the Deaf community’s true representative.

It appears that any positive and widespread celebration of ASL and Deaf people’s way of living represents a potential loss of profits, power, and political clout for the auditory-industrial complex. The DBC is pleased that Pepsi, unlike AG Bell, understands the miracle of sound reasoning.

The DBC warmly invites Pepsi to join our June 27-30, 2008 conference in Milwaukee. Your involvement will go a long way in ensuring that Deaf babies learn ASL and English and experience guaranteed success in their lives--not to mention the fact that it will add more Pepsi customers to the already large number of Deaf Pepsi drinkers. We will be happy to follow up with further details pertaining to our upcoming conference.

Again, thank you for doing a great service for all babies, Deaf and hearing alike, and also for the global Deaf community.

The core team of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition:

Barbara DiGiovanni
David Eberwein
John Egbert
Tami Hossler
Ella Mae Lentz
David Reynolds

Link to ASL version by Ella Mae Lentz, click here.

To download the letter, click here.

Link to AG Bell's letter to Pepsico, click here.